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My Attitude to The Philosophy of Seneca and Diogenes

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A. Introduction

“The unexamined life is not worth living”. (Brickhouse) This quote embodies a significant message about the importance of analyzing our actions to enable us to fulfill our lives. This quote inspired me to take a deeper understanding of my inner-values and my mindset by examining the reasoning and consequence of my actions and judgment. In that process, I choose to follow the Diogenes’ philosophy to understand inner-values by separating myself from the society’s beliefs. I also followed Seneca’s philosophy to learn the art of managing expectations to strive to live a good life.

B. The Philosophy of Diogenes the Art of Anarchy

The main concept behind Diogenes’ philosophy is to find the inner values which are often suppressed by the external environment. The philosophy encourages me to focus on my own perspectives and beliefs about the life. On the same note, it required distancing myself from seeking the public approval for fulfilling my own desires. As Evans states, “cynic meant someone who has abandoned the false values of civilization to follow a natural life of poverty, asceticism, and moral freedom”. (Evans 154) During the forty-eight hours, I tried making decisions about my lifestyle without focusing on the society’s approval. For instance, being under the impression that people are constantly judging me prevented me from living my desired lifestyle. Thus, I tried wearing comfortable clothes in an appropriate sense in public places to remove the fear of getting rejected by the society. Another part of the philosophy that I tried following on a comparable smaller scale was living a natural life of asceticism in terms of separating myself from the luxurious materialistic world. I took a step closer in living a natural and simple lifestyle by distancing myself from unnecessary electronic devices – especially smartphones. The main obstacle in following Diogenes’ philosophy was the process of changing my perspectives about the fear of society. For instance, my mind kept refocusing on the environment and how I might be judged by the society. In addition to that, the process of leaving the luxurious materialistic world was difficult as electronic devices and other items have become a necessity in the modern days.

From this experience of following and incorporating Diogenes’ philosophy into my lifestyle, I was able to learn the negative consequences that arose by hyper-focusing on the external factors. As Evan states, “Why do we choose to be miserable? Because we want to be accepted by our civilization”. (Evans 154) In other words, the process of finding inner peace can be achieved by living the life by our own standards and beliefs rather than living by what the society deems as normative. In my particular case, I was able to finally dress comfortable which provided internal happiness. In order to follow this philosophy for more than forty-eight hours, I will need to avoid the buildup of false values of the civilization to truly fulfill my beliefs at the end of the day.

C. The Philosophy of Seneca the Art of Managing Expectations

The main concept behind Seneca’s philosophy is mastering the art of managing expectations which plays a key role in anger management. The philosophy identifies expectations and judgment as the main root causes of anger. Thus, it encourages decreasing our expectations about certain perspectives that are not under our control. As Evan states, “The Stoic tries to see the world as it really is, rather than demanding that it fit their expectations”. (Evan 64) On the same note, it requires that we keep a positive outlook during difficult situations to prevent the buildup of negative thoughts in our mind. For instance, I paid attention in developing a positive judgment about dropping the cup of coffee right before the class. Instead of getting frustrated over why events like these always occur during important periods, I changed my perspective by thinking that it was good in a sense that the coffee didn’t spill on my clothes. Seneca’s philosophy also discusses the negative consequences of having an overly optimistic expectation. For instance, I often get angry and start blaming myself when I am not able to reach my academic goals due to my over-optimistic expectations about future results. Recently, I found out that I was rejected from an academic program for which I had worked hard throughout the summer. During that situation, I was able to see how my high expectations for the acceptance in that academic program before the results even came out resulted in a rise in anger and frustration levels. Personally, the main obstacle revolved around the idea of diverting the mind to think positively when getting rejected from the academic program and the occurrence of negative events such as the cup of coffee. The advice of remaining positive in negative circumstances often sounds easier in theory but remains difficult in reality.

From this experience, I was able to learn about the potential negative consequences that can arise from anger. Especially, in the case of not achieving my academic goal, anger and depressing could have lowered my ambition for working hard. Instead, I was able to turn that into a positive outcome and turn it into a motivation to work even harder next time. In order to follow this philosophy for more than forty-eight hours, I will need to continue following anger management techniques such as avoiding overly optimistic expectations and separating the mindset during angry situations.

D. Conclusion

I personally liked Seneca’s philosophy as it was more relatable in terms of the expectations. As a student, I have many expectations about my academics and career opportunities. Avoiding high expectations could be beneficial in decreasing suffering if I am unable to achieve the goals. In that case, I would also need to have a positive judgment about the difficult situations. With patience and practice, I was able to use the anger management teachings to divert the negative thoughts that are associated with anger. In following Diogenes’ philosophy, I was able to distance myself from the society to a certain degree. However, I was not able to completely abandon the society. Even though I tried keeping a distance from electronic devices, there was a necessity in accessing the electronic devices for school purposes. In addition to that, I also had to necessarily follow certain rules set by the government which prevented living a total anarchy lifestyle. However, I will try hard to focus more on the inner values compared to the standard norms of the culture to live a natural life of moral freedom to a certain aspect. Particularly, I will avoid getting influenced by the viewpoints that are portrayed in the society through people and media. From this experience, I will incorporate the lessons I have learned into my daily life such as avoiding setting high expectation that might not necessarily be fulfilled to avoid suffering.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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My Attitude to the Philosophy of Seneca and Diogenes. (2019, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from
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